By JOSEF FEDERMAN and FARES AKRAM, Related Press
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli police on Saturday mentioned they’ve arrested 4 of the six Palestinians who broke out of a maximum-security jail this week — together with a famed militant chief whose exploits through the years have made him a widely known determine in Israel.
The arrests moved Israel nearer to closing an embarrassing episode that uncovered deep flaws in its jail system and turned the fugitive prisoners into Palestinian heroes. Late on Friday, Palestinian militants within the Gaza Strip fired a rocket into Israel in an obvious signal of solidarity, drawing Israeli airstrikes in reprisal.
The 4 wished males had been caught in a pair of arrests in northern Israel.
Early on Saturday, police mentioned that they had caught two males, together with Zakaria Zubeidi, within the Arab city of Umm al-Ghanam. Zubeidi was a militant chief through the second Palestinian rebellion within the early 2000s.
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Whereas he has been linked to assaults on Israelis, he additionally was well-known for giving frequent media interviews and for a friendship he as soon as had with an Israeli girl. Zubeidi through the years had acquired amnesty and brought school programs and was energetic in a West Financial institution theater motion earlier than he was re-arrested in 2019 on suspicions of involvement in assaults.
Pictures launched by police confirmed Zubeidi, handcuffed and sporting a white blindfold, being led away by two cops.
In an announcement, police mentioned that Israeli safety forces, together with the army, have been working “across the clock” to catch the fugitives.
“The entire forces had been deployed at full energy, searched in open areas, collected every bit of data till they succeeded in fixing the puzzle to find these two fugitivies,” together with Zubeidi, police mentioned. The seek for the ultimate two prisoners was persevering with.
Earlier, two different prisoners had been arrested in Nazareth, an Arab metropolis in northern Israel simply west of Umm al-Ghanam.
A video circulating on social media confirmed Israeli police shackling one of many prisoners, Yakub Kadari, into the backseat of a police automobile and asking him for his title. The person, sporting denims and a inexperienced T-shirt, calmly identifies himself as Kadari and solutions “sure” when requested whether or not he is without doubt one of the escapees. Kadari was serving two life sentences for tried homicide and bomb planting.
In keeping with Israeli media stories, native residents in each cities had turned within the prisoners.
The six Palestinians tunneled out of the Gilboa jail on Monday, setting off a livid manhunt throughout Israel and within the West Financial institution.
For the Palestinians, the fugitives gained reward for succeeding in liberating themselves from a number of life sentences. Combating in opposition to Israel and collaborating in assaults in opposition to the Israeli army and even civilians is a supply of satisfaction for a lot of, and Palestinians take into account prisoners held by Israel to be heroes of their nationwide trigger.
Within the Gaza Strip in addition to within the West Financial institution, Palestinians had organized sit-ins and joyful gatherings to have a good time the jail break.
Whereas Zubeidi was a member of the secular Fatah group, the others belonged to the Islamic Jihad militant group, together with 4 serving life sentences. The entire prisoners are from the close by metropolis of Jenin within the Israel-occupied West Financial institution.
As quickly because the information in regards to the seize of the 2 fugitives was confirmed Friday, a flurry of bitter posts expressing disappointment and shock stuffed Palestinian social media.
Israel mentioned late Saturday that Palestinian militants in Gaza fired a rocket towards Israel that was intercepted by Israeli air defenses. The Israeli army mentioned it responded with airstrikes on a sequence of Hamas targets in Gaza. Israel says it holds Hamas, which has dominated Gaza since 2007, chargeable for all rocket fireplace emanating from the territory.
There was no rapid response from the Palestinian Authority, however Abdeltaif al-Qanou, a spokesman for the Gaza-ruling Hamas motion, mentioned regardless of the re-arrest, the prisoners have “scored a victory and harmed the status of the Israeli safety system.”
The escape has uncovered main flaws in Israel’s jail service and set off days of offended criticism and finger pointing. The lads escaped by a gap within the ground of their shared cell, tunneled by a gap exterior the jail and in keeping with media stories, escaped previous a sleeping jail guard.
It has additionally elevated stress between Israel and the Palestinians.
Earlier on Friday, Hamas had referred to as for “a day of rage” to protest Israeli crackdown in opposition to imprisoned Palestinians, however the day handed with out main confrontation. In Jerusalem, a Palestinian suspected attacker died shortly after being shot by Israeli police within the unstable Outdated Metropolis, the place he had reportedly tried to stab officers. Police mentioned one officer was calmly wounded within the leg.
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